National News

The risks and rewards of selling dinner reservations

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-05-28 02:00

The Eddy, in New York’s East Village, is the kind of place that manages to make tater tots feel fancy — they're made with bacon and topped with an English pea puree. The décor is modern, but also a bit rustic, and since its dining room only has 30 seats, reservations tend to book up.

Nearly every week, owner Jason Soloway says he gets an inquiry from some startup hoping to help The Eddy solve problems, both real and imagined. The restaurant industry, like many others, is in the midst of a tech makeover. Tablets are replacing waiters at some restaurants, startups want to streamline tasks from hiring staff or ordering food. Restaurant goers have long been able to book reservations online, but a handful of apps and services now offer up often difficult reservations for a price.

The Eddy has partnered with Resy, an app that sells reservations in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington D.C. Soloway sets aside a table or two at peak hours for the app to sell for $5 per person, a fee he splits with Resy. On a $10 reservation, after the Resy’s cut and fees, Soloway estimates he’ll take home $4 or $5. That additional revenue is part of the appeal, as is the marketing and promotion he gets from being on the app.

“The risk is we have to hold that table for [Resy] up until usually 6 o’clock the day of the reservation,” Soloway says.

If the reservation doesn’t sell, he then scrambles to fill the table or lose money.

But Resy’s not the only app selling reservations at The Eddy. Unbeknowst to Soloway, tables at The Eddy are also listed for sale on Shout, a marketplace for many of different things, including restaurant reservations in New York City, in-demand sneakers, and event tickets.

Unlike Resy, Shout doesn’t work directly with restaurants. Rather, an individual user makes a reservation they then sell to other users on the app. Shout runs basic background checks on its users, processes payments and holds their funds in escrow until after the time of the reservation to ensure their legitimacy.

“It’s entirely peer-to-peer,” says Zachariah Reitano, one of Shout’s founders. Some users are just looking to sell a reservation they made and now can’t use, while others, “the power sellers, sort of see themselves as personal concierges.”

The same way powerful executives might have their assistants book reservations for them, Reitano says, for a small fee, other people can get a similar service. If restaurants don’t want to be on the platform, Shout won’t remove them, but it’ll let users know they’re going against the restaurant’s wishes. They also ban buyers who no-show.

“We really don’t want facilitate new types of exchange that hurt other people’s business,” Reitano says, adding that there is a market here; people are willing to pay for these reservations.

Growing up Zuckerberg

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-05-28 01:55
12

That's how old Florida teen Rachel Zietz was when she started her company Gladiator Lacrosse, which she says will likely reach $1 million in sales next year. Zietz is following the example of her father, an entrepreneur himself. The New York Times followed the Zietz family and others who are raising young business people, enrolling them in after-school programs and occasionally binge-watching "Shark Tank."

$22

Need a last minute reservation at a popular restaurant? No problem... but it will cost you. At a notable places like Scarpetta in New York City, a table for two at 7:30 p.m. will set you back $22 via a new app called Resy. Restaurants that partner with Resy save one or two tables during the busiest service hours. Resy sells those tables to diners looking for a last minute spot, with the restaurant receiving some of those funds.

1,200

That's how many migrant workers have died in Qatar since the country was selected to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, according to estimates from the International Trade Union Confederation. Exact numbers are difficult to parse out, and many of those deaths may be unrelated to the Cup, but the Washington Post points out that even conservative estimates would be far higher than the worker death toll around recent Olympics and World Cups.

12

Speaking of FIFA, that's how many women's national teams will be available on the next iteration of the popular FIFA video game franchise. Set for release in September, FIFA 16 will mark the first time women have been included in the game.

680

That's how many students there are at VIDA Middle School in Vista, California, and all of them were recently issued iPads with 4G connections. That's a lot of expensive hardware, and more tech than many kids have had access to before. VIDA is integrating the devices throughout the day. But the initiative comes with plenty of practical challenges.

Are Black Voters Ready For Hillary Clinton?

NPR News - Thu, 2015-05-28 01:00

African Americans are going to be key to a Hillary Clinton presidential run. After a tense 2008 primary fight with Barack Obama, she's trying to win them over.

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The Future President Will Need To Wrestle With Debt From The Past

NPR News - Thu, 2015-05-28 01:00

The federal government has issued trillions of dollars in IOUs. And just the interest on that massive debt could be a serious constraint for the next president.

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Their Life In A Refugee Camp Might Be Better Than Life Back At Home

NPR News - Wed, 2015-05-27 23:30

In the 1990s, hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled war and found a new home — and new opportunities — in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya.

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The Technology Of Books Has Changed, But Bookstores Are Hanging In

NPR News - Wed, 2015-05-27 23:29

The debate over whether digital books are better continues. But in the age of Amazon, the number of independent booksellers is up. The revival is fueled, at least in part, by digital natives.

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Golden State Beats Houston, Will Face Cleveland For NBA Title

NPR News - Wed, 2015-05-27 21:02

The Warriors return to the Finals for the first time in 40 years with a convincing 104-90 victory over the Rockets.

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Scientists Discover Evidence of a 435,000-Year-Old Murder

NPR News - Wed, 2015-05-27 17:15

Scientists say it's not just a murder from another era, but also part of one of the earliest mass graves.

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Fact Check: 3 Questions Answered About Bill Clinton's LLC

NPR News - Wed, 2015-05-27 16:10

Does Bill Clinton have a secret corporation that he is using to hide money? Is it intended to pay a lower tax rate? Or is it something else entirely?

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Tracy Morgan, Wal-Mart Settle Lawsuit Over Truck-Limousine Crash

NPR News - Wed, 2015-05-27 15:56

The actor sued the retail giant for negligence last year after he was seriously injured in a crash in which his limousine was struck by a Wal-Mart truck traveling 20 mph over the speed limit.

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Danish Broadcaster Says Killing Of Rabbit On Air Highlighted Hypocrisy

NPR News - Wed, 2015-05-27 15:44

The rabbit was clubbed to death during a debate on animal cruelty. Radio24syv says it wanted a debate about the hypocrisy toward perceptions of cruelty toward animals. Critics aren't buying it.

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Map: Where (And How) The Government Can Execute People

NPR News - Wed, 2015-05-27 14:08

Nebraska just repealed its death penalty. Here's a look at where the law stands in your state.

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On The Road To Recovery, Detroit Property Taxes Aren't Helping

NPR News - Wed, 2015-05-27 14:02

Even with cheap rent, the cost of doing business is high. With the nation's highest commercial property taxes, one business mogul says this stunts entrepreneurship in a city that needs more jobs.

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Nebraska Repeals Death Penalty, But U.S. Isn't Quite Ready To Abandon It

NPR News - Wed, 2015-05-27 13:52

Cost and lethal-injection complications have led some states to reconsider the death penalty. U.S. support for the practice has declined over the last two decades, but three-in-five still support it.

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Bugs: Not What's For Dinner — Until They're Tastier, Maybe

NPR News - Wed, 2015-05-27 13:34

A U.K. researcher says the environmental argument for eating bugs isn't working on its own. She says chefs and policymakers must "make insect dishes appeal as food, not just a way to save the planet."

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For Next President, The Fight Against Extremism Will Hit Closer To Home

NPR News - Wed, 2015-05-27 13:24

The so-called Islamic State is endlessly creative in trying to get young men and women to leave home to Syria and Iraq. It's something the next president will have to wrestle with from Day 1.

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Rick Santorum Announces Presidential Run

NPR News - Wed, 2015-05-27 13:20

The former Republican senator from Pennsylvania appeals to his party's social conservatives. Rick Santorum won the Iowa caucuses in 2012, but this time around he faces a crowded Republican field.

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Justice department moves on FIFA corruption

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-05-27 13:00

Early this morning Zurich time, Swiss police arrested seven top officials from FIFA, the international organization governing soccer. What’s more, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced today that the Department of Justice will indict some FIFA executives, including former Vice President Jack Warner.   

“They corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and to enrich themselves,” Lynch said in a statement. The U.S. charges include racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud.

In all, 14 people have been indicted, but not the man at the top, longtime FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

“He’s basically said to have been running sort of a corrupt organization for the better part of two decades,” says Edward Derse, a senior vice president at Universal Sports Network.

Blatter and other FIFA executives are known for their luxurious lifestyles, too.

“Blatter has a huge expense budget. He lives very well,” Derse says.

But even though it looks as if he might soon be elected to another term as FIFA president, Blatter will undoubtedly have a lot of questions to answer as part of the DOJ’s investigation.  

“I think it’s going to change things a lot for FIFA," Derse says. "I mean, clearly, you know, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that this is not going to stop here."  

U.S. Attorney General Lynch moves on FIFA corruption

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-05-27 13:00

Early this morning Zurich time, Swiss police arrested seven top officials from FIFA, the international organization governing soccer. What’s more, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced today that the Department of Justice will indict some FIFA executives, including former Vice President Jack Warner.   

“They corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and to enrich themselves,” Lynch said in a statement. The U.S. charges include racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud.

In all, 14 people have been indicted, but not the man at the top, longtime FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

“He’s basically said to have been running sort of a corrupt organization for the better part of two decades,” says Edward Derse, a senior vice president at Universal Sports Network.

Blatter and other FIFA executives are known for their luxurious lifestyles, too.

“Blatter has a huge expense budget. He lives very well,” Derse says.

But even though it looks as if he might soon be elected to another term as FIFA president, Blatter will undoubtedly have a lot of questions to answer as part of the DOJ’s investigation.  

“I think it’s going to change things a lot for FIFA," Derse says. "I mean, clearly, you know, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that this is not going to stop here."  

After purchase, Re/code gets Vox's secret weapon

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-05-27 13:00

In purchasing the tech news site Re/code, Vox Media is adding to its portfolio of news sites — and giving Re/code access to its "secret weapon."

Much has been made of Vox's content management system, Chorus. Most online news outfits have systems that are chaotic behind the scenes thanks to decades of updates and adjustments, says newspaper industry analyst Ken Doctor.

"Endless meetings, endless investments and endless years go by in trying to transform legacy companies to being what are essentially digital-first companies" to limited success, Doctor says.

Vox basically skipped all of this. It was born digital, and it built its Chorus publishing system for the digital age. The system allows for an integrated publishing of photos, text, tweets, links and other elements all processed quickly and seamlessly. It is all aimed at creating in-depth stories quickly and getting them online.

"Chorus is a killer technology," Doctor says. "It is that understanding that technology is the core of the new business."

"It's a kind of leap ahead of where a great many organizations, especially legacy organizations, are," says Rick Edmunds, media business analyst at the Poynter Institute.

Vox has also adapted that same technology to make it easier to target ads. And that's an area where the news industry lags.

"The print advertising dollar has continued to decline," says Amy Mitchell, head of journalism research at the Pew Center. "Digital has grown a bit, but it's not been able to keep up with the decline that's being seen in print."

Doctor says that's where Vox's Chorus technology could teach news organizations how to sing a new tune.

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